A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Heilmann, Christian

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The Business Case for Web Standards

A wiki to facilitate the collation of arguments and counterarguments in favor of web standards, and to sort them into the different categories of who we want to persuade.

Heilmann, Christian. Business Case for Web Standards, The (2007). Resources>Web Design>Standards>Business Case


The Business Case for Web Standards

A wiki to collect information on this topic as there are a lot of presentations written about it but all differ in approach and content and collating all these great ideas can help us form a solid approach to selling web standards to the business.

Heilmann, Christian. ICANT (2009). Resources>Web Design>Standards>Wikis


Complex Dynamic Lists: Your Order Please

Help your site’s visitors reach their goals quickly with a dynamic menu that takes its cue from the Mac OS X Finder.

Heilmann, Christian. List Apart, A (2005). Design>Web Design>User Interface>DHTML


Developing Sites With AJAX: Design Challenges and Common Issues

Almost every movie has a scene in which a character pull the protagonist aside and says, “There’s something you should know about [insert another character's name here].” Most of the time, we find out some dark secret about a supposed friend of the protagonist or that the main ally is actually an evil overlord. This is that moment, and I am here to tell you a few things about our friend in the Web 2.0 world: AJAX.

Heilmann, Christian. Smashing (2010). Articles>Web Design>Ajax


Dynamically Conjuring Drop-Down Navigation

Got content? Got pages and pages of content? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could offer your readers a drop-down menu providing instant access to any page, without having to sit down and program the darned thing? By marrying a seemingly forgotten XHTML element to simple, drop-in JavaScript, Christian Heilmann shows how to do just that. There’s even a PHP backup for those whose browsers lack access to JavaScript. Turn on, tune in, drop-down.

Heilmann, Christian. List Apart, A (2004). Design>Web Design>User Interface>DHTML


Free Your Embedded Data With SearchMonkey

Arguing for web standards and semantically clean and rich websites is an uphill battle. For years we had to deal with browsers that needed us to mess around with HTML just to display a document in several columns and the visual outcome was much more important than the structure.

Heilmann, Christian. Digital Web Magazine (2008). Articles>Web Design>Standards>HTML


How to Create a Web Service in a Matter of Minutes

Offering your content or logic as a service on the web is a great idea. For starters it allows you to build numerous front-ends for your own information without having to access the databases all the time (and thus making scaling your system much easier). The even more practical upshot is that you allow people on the web to play with your information and build things you never even dreamed of doing.

Heilmann, Christian. NETTUTS (2010). Articles>Web Design>Programming


The HTML HEAD Element

This article deals with a part of the HTML document that does not get the attention it deserves: the markup that goes inside the head element. By the end of this tutorial you’ll have learnt about the different parts of this section and what they all do, including the doctype, title element, keywords and description (which are handled by meta elements).

Heilmann, Christian. Opera (2008). Articles>Web Design>HTML>Metadata


The Importance of Maintainable JavaScript

JavaScript is hip again; there’s no doubt about it. But if you’re starting to get down and dirty with it, there’s no excuse not to keep it clean.

Heilmann, Christian. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Programming>JavaScript


JavaScript Image Replacement

Fahrner Image Replacement (FIR), a technique developed to allow designers to use image-based typesetting while meeting accessibility requirements, only serves its intended purpose when screen readers misbehave. By using JavaScript, we have an opportunity none of these solutions give us.

Heilmann, Christian. List Apart, A (2003). Design>Web Design>DHTML


Seven Accessibility Mistakes (Part 1)

There are several reasons inaccessible Web products get published. One we discussed in my last article is that some clients just don’t care about accessibility. Their reasons make a lot of sense if you put yourself in their shoes. Another reason is developer mistakes. Making mistakes is natural, and suffering the consequences and learning from them is what makes us better developers and better people.

Heilmann, Christian. Digital Web Magazine (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Case Studies


Seven Accessibility Mistakes (Part 2)

This two part-article discusses reasons why some projects fail to result in properly accessible products.

Heilmann, Christian. Digital Web Magazine (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility


The Seven Deadly Sins Of JavaScript Implementation

Using JavaScript has become increasingly easy over the last few years. Whereas back in the day we needed to know the quirks of every browser, now many libraries such as jQuery, YUI, Dojo and MooTools allow someone who doesn’t even know JavaScript to spruce up boring HTML documents with impressive and shiny effects. By piggy-backing on the CSS selector engine, we have moved away from the complexity and inconsistencies of the DOM and made things much easier. If you look at some of the code that has been released, though, we do seem to have taken a step backwards. In gaining easier access, we also became a bit sloppy with our code.

Heilmann, Christian. Smashing (2010). Articles>Web Design>Programming>JavaScript


The Seven Rules of Unobtrusive JavaScript

I've found the following rules over the years developing, teaching and implementing JavaScript in an unobtrusive manner. They have specifically been the outline of a workshop on unobtrusive JavaScript for the Paris Web conference 2007 in Paris, France.I hope that they help you understand a bit why it is a good idea to plan and execute your JavaScript in this way. It has helped me deliver products faster, with much higher quality and a lot easier maintenance.

Heilmann, Christian. Opera (2008). Articles>Web Design>Standards>JavaScript


The Table Ruler

Make your site easier to use by giving your visitors a virtual 'ruler' to guide and track their progress down long data tables. With a pinch of JavaScript and a dash of the DOM, your table rows will light up as your visitors hover over them.

Heilmann, Christian. List Apart, A (2004). Design>Web Design>Usability


Ten Reasons Clients Don't Care About Accessibility

Working as an accessibility consultant in an IT company is a very frustrating job right now. Highly publicized lawsuits and deep-rooted accessibility myths leave us with a lot to explain when the final product does not really help visitors. Our clients simply don’t care about accessibility as much as we’d like them to, and there are several reasons for that.

Heilmann, Christian. Digital Web Magazine (2005). Articles>Consulting>Accessibility>Web Design


Testing for Web Accessibility

There are many sophisticated software tools that can be used to check for web accessibility. US federal agencies and corporations are spending millions of dollars on such tools that claim to test web sites for accessibility. We want to raise the question here of what can and cannot be tested with these tools. Then we will examine six commercial tools in some detail and compare their results on a set of forty test files.

Thatcher, Jim, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Richard Rutter, Christian Heilmann, Cynthia Waddell, Michael R. Burks, Shawn Lawton Henry, Bruce Lawson, Mark Urban and Patrick H. Lauke. JimThatcher.com (2006). Articles>Accessibility>Assessment>Software


Website Performance: What To Know and What You Can Do

Website performance is a hugely important topic, so much so that the big companies of the Web are obsessed with it. For the Googles, Yahoos, Amazons and eBays, slow websites mean fewer users and less happy users and thus lost revenue and reputation.

Heilmann, Christian. Smashing (2010). Articles>Web Design>Search Engine Optimization

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